By GREG WHITE
THE appeal by Gimbisi Valley Rugby League Club against suspension from the 2005 Group 2 competition was upheld at a meeting in Wauchope on Tuesday night.
But the Group has some consolation from the affair with Country Rugby League officials Warren Kimberley and Kevin Hardy finding the original charge of 'bringing the game into disrepute' proven, while varying the penalty to be imposed.
Local vice president Jim Anderson who presented the case on behalf of the Group said that the Warriors officials were invited to speak before a penalty was handed down.
"Many of the elders from the club spoke eloquently and passionately, requesting leniency," Anderson said.
"It appears to have worked."
The CRL has determined the original fine of $5000 against Gimbisi should stand but has made no provision for and immediate suspension of the club should the scenes that occurred at Port Macquarie on July 3 be repeated.
Anderson said the Warriors have until this Sunday to pay the fine and once the money is in the Group's possession, the club is cleared to continue on, beginning with a scheduled match against arch-rivals Macleay Valley at Verge Street Oval.
"There is scope for a further appeal to take place," he said with some exasperation.
"If the constituent clubs are unhappy with the verdict then they are free to continue proceedings."
"But everyone should know what is at stake. "Another appeal means another delay to the progress of the competition, without mentioning the terrible toll it's taken on Peter O'Grady and myself, getting it to this stage."
As part of the findings, the CRL has ruled three games involving the Warriors in the second round, temporarily declared null and void will now be re-instated.
And the matches involving Macksville, Bellinger Valley-Dorrigo and Orara Valley clubs will have to go ahead on re-scheduled dates.
"The clubs concerned are going to be very busy in coming days," Anderson said.
"They are free to come to their own agreement as to when the games will take place, but if they cannot make their minds up, the Group will be forced to do it for them."
"If required, we will step in and arrange dates and venues and then leave it to the respective clubs to comply."
Already, there is speculation some off these games will not take place unless absolutely necessary.